We Refuse to Be Enemies: August 14 – 15 in San Francisco : Joint Celebration of India and Pakistan’s Independence days

San Francisco (August 6, 2010.) – On the 64th Anniversary of Pakistan and India’s Independence Friends of South Asia and Global Fund for Women invite you to A panel discussion on the peace process between India and Pakistan with: Nosheen Ali, Samar Minallah, Lalita Ramdas & Admiral L.Ramdas moderated by Anu Mandavilli and Anasuya Sengupta on Saturday, August 14, at 12 Noon at Global Fund for Women, 222 Sutter Street Suite 500, San Francisco CA 94108.

About the Event

14th and 15th August, 2010 mark the 64th anniversary of Pakistan and India’s independence from British rule, and the creation of these two South Asian states. The decades since have seen wars and heated political battles between the two countries, but also attempts to engender peace, including through increased people-to-people contacts.

Citizens on both sides of the border have worked to observe and celebrate the region’s shared histories and cultures, and to manifest hopes for a just and lasting peace. We are privileged to have with us in San Francisco at this time, four distinguished panelists from the two countries, who will provide for us an overview of the current status of ‘official’ peace talks, but also the possibilities for a renewed people’s peace process. The discussion will include commentary about the relationship of the two countries with the U.S. and with Afghanistan, given the ramifications of these relationships for the geo-politics of the region at large.

Panelist Bios :

Nosheen Ali is a social anthropologist, journalist, and activist from Pakistan, and currently a postdoctoral visiting scholar at Stanford University. She has researched extensively on state-building and citizenship struggles in Gilgit-Baltistan — internationally considered as part of Pakistani Kashmir — and is currently writing a book on this topic. Nosheen is a founding member of the international network GRASP (Group for Research in the Anthropology, Sociology, and Politics of Pakistan) and serves on the editorial board of the South Asian journal, SAMAJ. She is also the founder of Zamana.org, an upcoming online community for progressive analysis and action on Pakistan.

Samar Minallah is a documentary filmmaker, freelance journalist, human rights activist and an anthropologist from Pakistan. She founded Ethnomedia, a non-governmental organization working to enable gender sensitivity and consciousness in Pakistani media. She has made various documentaries on social and cultural issues, and is on the board of PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority). Samar has been documenting various aspects of Pukhtun culture through print and electronic media. She won the “Perdita Human Rights Activist Award” for her work in advocating against the custom of ‘Swara’ (where girls are given as compensation to end old disputes).

Lalita Ramdas is a noted educator, writer, and an advocate for gender justice and peace, as well as a prominent spokesperson for nuclear disarmament. She was one of the “1000 Peace Women” nominated collectively for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She has led many peace initiatives with students from both India and Pakistan, and with the anti-nuclear and peace movement in India. In 2006, she served as a Judge on the People’s Tribunal on Poverty and Debt held at the International People’s Forum at Bataam, Indonesia. Lalita is a founding member of the Board of Greenpeace India, and is Chair of the Greenpeace International Board.

Admiral L. Ramdas is the former Chief of the Indian Naval Staff (1990-1993). Soon after his retirement, the Admiral began to advocate demilitarization and peaceful resolution of Indo-Pak problems. He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding in 2004 for “reaching across a hostile border to nurture a citizen-based consensus for peace between Pakistan and India.” He is the chairperson of the Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, and continues to work for people-to-people dialogue, and to reduce or eliminate nuclear arsenals.

Note: the photo of the young woman above with the “We refuse to be enemies” poster was taken at a peace vigil in San Francisco that was attended by many Indians and Pakistanis. The vigil was organized in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008.

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, Fri, August 6, 2010.

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